Chien-Ming Wang made his triumphant return to the Majors on July 29th, and promptly gave up 4 runs in the first inning back. He was clearly nervous against the leadoff hitter Reyes, then gave up four consecutive singles (mostly hit well) en route to an ugly first inning. A couple of loose plays behind him didn’t help (hence why 2 of the four first inning runs were unearned), but for a bit of time I was worried he would be relieved without getting an out.
Through the 2nd and 3rd innings he settled down, getting his sinker to move back across the plate instead of off of it, and looked pretty good. Manager Davey Johnson more or less agreed, saying he was encouraged by the outing despite the results.
Wang’s fastball was a bit off of his 2007 peak, touching 93.3 and sitting mostly in the 91-92 range. His breaking balls were mostly atrocious, floating over the plate and contributing to his woes. He also attempted several split-fingered changeups with very limited success (only 2 of 7 for strikes). However, his sink and movement seemed fantastic, and with more mound work I feel he can go back to being an effective starter. If i’m Steve McCatty, I know exactly what i’m working on for his next start.
All told, the game was an 8-5 loss and you never want to give up 6 runs in 4 innings, but this team needs to stick with Wang for the rest of the season to see what they have. Yes he is likely to get beat up, but if they have a reliable veteran starter who has a history of success in this league on the cheap, they need to find out. I look forward to his next outing.